Hotel Pera Palace
Pera Palace Hotel ( Turkish: Pera Palas Oteli) is an historic special category hotel and museum hotel located in the BeyoÄŸlu (Pera) district in Istanbul, Turkey. It was built in 1892 for the purpose of hosting the passengers of the Orient Express and was named after the place it is located. It holds the title of "the oldest European hotel of Turkey". The Pera Palace Hotel, offering magnificent views of the Golden Horn and the skyline of the historic peninsula, is located in the Tepebaşı neighbourhood of Pera, once known as "Little Europe". Today, Pera is the cultural and social centre of Istanbul with its vivid night life and sophisticated museums. In addition to its historic grandeur, Pera Palace Hotel is also attractive due to its central location. It is about 20 km from Ataturk International Airport. The hotel is in walking distance of Istiklal Avenue, Taksim Square and the British, Swedish, Russian, Dutch, Italian, French and German consulates. The hotel has been closed from 2006, undergoing a major renovation and restoration project and reopened in the September 1, 2010.

History
The interaction of the Art Nouveau, Oriental and Neoclassical style of Pera Palace Hotel was designed by the Franco- Turkish architect Alexander Vallaury (1850-1921), the founder and first instructor of the Architectural Department at the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul. Its opening ball was made in 1895. The Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Européens" used the hotel to accommodate guests arriving in Sirkeci Terminal from Paris on the Orient Express. The symbols of the Pera Palace Hotel and the Orient Express are the same. Pera Palace Hotel lived through the Ottoman decline, the founding of the Republic, two world wars and changing political, social and economic conditions. After World War I, occupying forces used the Pera Palace Hotel as their headquarters. Following the liberation of Istanbul by the Turkish nationalist movement under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1922, the British gave "the key to Istanbul" back to Celal Bayar in this hotel, where Ä°smet Ä°nönü stayed during the armistice talks.

The hotel
This traditional building overlooking the Golden Horn is just off the main road but with access from a small side road. Pera Palace Hotel was home to many firsts. It was the first and only building with electricity other than Ottoman Palaces. Hotel was a gracious host to many tea and dance parties. Its nostalgic electric elevator and bathrooms that provided running hot water were privileges available only to the hotel guests. With 115 nostalgic guest rooms, including 16 suites, historical Patisserie de Pera, Orient Bar and with the coming Agatha Restaurant and 380 sqm Spa, Pera Palace Hotel has long been the place to see and be seen.

Ownership
In 1918, Bodossakis Athanassiades, a Greek entrepreneur of Nigde, moved to Constantinople and settled at Pera Palace Hotel. It was during that time that Bodossakis found out that Compagnie Internationale de Wagon Lits, owner of Pera Palace Hotel, wanted to sell it. Fascinated by the allure of the prestigious Hotel and responding to the trend of the time by which Greeks were buying prime real estate in Constantinople, he immediately offered to buy it. He swiftly arranged a meeting with Baron Jean Batiste de Bourge, who was authorized to sell it. It took one and only meeting for Bodossakis to conclude the deal. The contract was signed on 21st of December of 1918 in Paris for the sum of 5.250.000, 00 French francs. Shortly after, he spent 1.500.000, 00 French Francs for the renovation of Pera Palace thus making it one of the most luxurious hotels in Europe and the centre of all social events in Constantinople. In 1922, following the Asia Minor defeat of the Greek army, Bodossakis settled in Athens. One year later, in 1923, the new Turkish State took control of Pera Palace. After 1923, Misbah Muhayyes, who gave much to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk during the Syrian campaign, received a letter of gratitude from Atatürk, who, upon Muhayyes’s wish, honored him with Turkish citizenship and also handed over the management of the hotel. Muhayyes' will determined that the income of the enterprise be divided between humanitarian foundations. In 1963, trustees left the management entirely to these organizations after forming the Istanbul Hotel Management, Tourism and Trading Company. Towards the end of 1977, a businessman from Gaziantep, Hasan Süzer, bought 60% of the hotel's shares and became the top executive. Shortly thereafter he purchased the remaining shares. The destiny of this weary building changed with the lease of its on-ground utilization rights to Besiktas Shipping Group in 2006 and a project of restoration, rehabilitation and renovation started immediately. This project consists of a detailed structural documentation and aims at returning Pera Palace Hotel to its magnificent times without damaging its historical foundations and integrity. The project started in April 2008 and completion is due in the September 1, 2010.

Notable guests
The hotel has entertained many kings, queens, statesmen and artists from all over the world since its establishment. Famous guests stayed in the hotel including Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Agatha Christie, King George V of England, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary and Czar Nicholas II of Russia. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic and the first President of Turkey, was a guest at the Pera Palace Hotel several times. Room 101, where he stayed during his visits to Istanbul, is now kept as a veritable museum with the original furniture and memorabilia. Agatha Christie was in fact one of the hotel's most ardent visitors. The "Agatha Christie Room", number 411, is now preserved in her honor. It is rumored that she wrote Murder on the Orient Express here. This seems likely since the hotel was originally founded in 1892 for the specific purpose of hosting passengers arriving on the Orient Express train and no doubt served as an inspiration to the "Queen of Crime". Other prominent visitors of the Pera Palace Hotel were: Ismet Inönü, Celal Bayar, Adnan Menderes, Fahri Korutürk, King Zog I of Albania, Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran, King Edward VIII of England, King Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, King Carol I of Romania, President Tito of Yugoslavia and President Giscard d’Estaing of France. The long list of historically notable people includes Franz Von Papen, Greta Garbo, Mata Hari, Yehudi Menuhin, Jacqueline Kennedy, Rita Hayworth and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Building Activity

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